What would Johnson do?


Samuel Johnson, by Edward Francesco Burney after Joshua Reynolds. N.p., n.d. From the James Marshall and Marie-Louise Osborn Collection, Beinecke Library.

One of the Reynolds portraits of Johnson, on one of which Burney based this painting, was the subject of an attack at the National Portrait Gallery in 2007. As the story relates, there are no fewer than 36 portraits of Johnson in the Gallery’s collections, 26 by Reynolds.

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